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Likes, dislikes, and more from the Skins’ 27-20 win over the Rams.

Good:

  1. Running game. They ran it early and ran it well.  Now, I thought Kelley was really good but I also thought he left a ton of yards out there with cutbacks into traffic on 2 to 3 first half runs before his injury.  With that said, he was effective.  Thompson was outstanding.  His 61-yard touchdown run on a draw play really showed his explosiveness.  Perine was slow to start but was really effective on zone-read style looks out of shotgun especially on the final drive.  One of the best rush days in recent memory for the Skins….39 for 229 yds (5.9 per carry).  The running game kept the Skins two-dimensional which is huge against a good defense and it led to a 68-49 play differential and a 36:19 to 23:41 time of possession advantage.
  1. Big plays late. Being honest, how many of you thought they would win the game when the Rams tied it at 20-20 with 7:16 left?  I didn’t feel confident in the moment but Kirk Cousins engineered a 70-yard drive for the go-ahead touchdown converting two huge 3rd downs including a 3rd and 5 touchdown pass to Ryan Grant.  Cousins was 3 for 3 for 42 yards on the final drive after having hit and miss rhythm before that drive.  Then, with 1:44 left and the Rams needing a touchdown to tie, Mason Foster made a game-ending interception.
  1. Josh Norman. He forced two fumbles in the game by punching the ball out of Todd Gurley’s gut.  The Skins recovered one of them.  He’s so good at that.
  1. Kendall Fuller, Zach Brown, Preston Smith, and Ryan Kerrigan made plays that stood out. Fuller has disrupted every quick screen he’s seen this year.  Zach Brown had a 2nd straight impactful game especially as a run-stopper.  Preston Smith had another sack.  Ryan Kerrigan looks healthy and had a sack/forced fumble.
  1. Chris Thompson. He had 107 total yards and two touchdowns but he should’ve had a 3rd TD but dropped a pass over the middle with nobody near him early in the 3rd quarter.  He’s a real threat for this team.  They need to continue to use him in multiple ways.
  1. No turnovers, few penalties. They won the turnover battle 2-zip and had chances for another 1-2 takeaways.  The Skins committed just 4 penalties in the game.  They’ve had a mere 6 penalties in two games although I thought there were a few missed holding calls today (Lauvao got away with at least one blatant hold on Donald).   

Bad:

  1. Allowed several big plays. The Rams had 7 plays of 17 yards or more including 4 plays of 28 yards or more.  One of those came on a huge fake punt pass in the 4th quarter.  The Rams had the Skins on their heels a bit on their game-tying FG drive but two  stupid penalties by Robert Woods derailed their chance to score a go-ahead touchdown.
  1. Early pass protection. Even with the running game excelling at a high level, there was just too much early pressure on play-action and pure drop back throws.
  1. Drops. Pryor had another drop and Thompson dropped a wide-open would-be 62-yard touchdown pass that would’ve given the Skins a 27-10 lead early in the 3rd quarter.
  1. Fade(s). The Skins tried a fade to Doctson on 2nd and goal at the 5 with the running game humming.  It wasn’t close.  I hated that call.  Then, on the next play, Cousins went to Thompson on a quick throw to the corner of the end zone that wasn’t thrown well and perhaps shouldn’t have been thrown at all.  I thought Kirk was too quick on the decision to throw to Thompson on that play.
  1. End of 1st half offensive drive. The Skins did a good job using timeouts on defense to get the ball back in good field position at their own 45 with 1:07 left in the half but I thought Kirk was too conservative after that.  He threw short to Reed twice and missed badly to Grant who wasn’t open on 3rd and 4.  That’s a spot where you need 20 yards for a FG attempt and they didn’t seem aggressive enough in trying to get it.
  1. Jerome Boger crew. What a disaster the Boger crew was per usual.  I have no idea how this guy is still a lead referee.  How the Rams ended up with 1st and 10 from their own 2 on a kickoff return that included offsetting penalties was incredibly confusing and was clearly confusing to Boger and crew.  It took 5 minutes to figure out and the conclusion didn’t seem right considering that one of the penalties was a personal foul on the Skins!

More:

  1. Kirk Cousins had a mixed day until the end. He led the final drive and converted two huge 3rd-down throws in the process to help win a game they had to have. His day (18-27 for 179 yds 1 TD, no INTs) would’ve looked much better if Thompson had held onto what looked like a 62-yd touchdown pass.  I thought Kirk was once again better at times than last year making plays with his legs but on what would’ve been a massive play on a 3rd and 4 early in the 4th qtr, he totally missed a wide-open Thompson after scrambling into position to make the throw.  Those are the plays he has to make.  He had some good 3rd down throws but also fumbled a snap and had a bad pitch to Thompson on a pitch/sweep that led to a 6-yard loss.   I would’ve preferred Cousins to get out of the fade call to Doctson and I think he has the ability to get out of those plays if he wants.  Bottom line, he made the plays late in THIS game that he didn’t make a week ago and it was a major factor in the win.
  1. Injuries galore. The Skins lost Norman, Reed, Moses, Kelley, and others during portions of the game but were able to overcome.
  1. Todd Gurley had two hurdles over Skins defenders to get extra yards. Breeland dropped his head on one of those plays instead of making a high tackle.
  1. Was the P.I. vs. Niles Paul a catchable pass? It didn’t look like it.
  1. Declining holding penalty was right call. Gruden had a chance to take a holding penalty against the Rams before their game-tying FG in the 4th quarter but declined it opting for 4th and 15 at the 22 rather than 3rd and 25 at the 32.  Greg Zuerlein’s leg is big.  It was going to be hard to knock them out of FG range.  I liked the decision. 
  1. Goff to Kupp is going to be a productive tandem in the future.  Goff looks like he’s a different guy this year than last and their rookie WR Cooper Kupp is a 90+ catch guy per season.
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